tysolna: (letting go)
Instead of rehearsals, four sevenths of our band went to the Christmas fair last night (Singer N. has gone home for the holidays, singer G. had to work, and bass player M. wanted an early night, understandably). We ate the usual hot, fatty and unhealthy food, and we drank mulled wine, although it wasn't that cold; traditions are traditions, after all.

Of course, we asked guitarist P. how things would work out as far as he and the band are concerned. He said he had come to the decision that he would play the gig on the 6th with us, and then leave the band. It's confirmed, then - we are going to start looking for a new guitarist as soon as possible. We did talk about his decision during the course of the evening, touching upon it every now and again like on a missing tooth. His decision appears to be final, but R. and I agree he may have second thoughts in half a year or so, by which time we hope he can find other people to play with, because after last week, coming back is not an option.
I have to say that although I am saddened that one of our founding members is leaving the band after decades, I know that the band will survive. Change is chance; but I am still worried about P,; he is not a happy man.

Apart from this issue, the evening out with the boys was a lot of fun, jokes and laughter. Christmas fair first, with mulled wine, hot mead, and Lumumba (do you guys have Lumumba? Hot chocolate with rum, topped with whipped cream), and then we retired into a little pub, where R. had Guinnes and whisky, the drivers had tea and coffee, and I had a Tequila Sunrise and a Kill Bill (the latter is lemon, tonic, grenadine and vodka). For some reason, the guys ordered this for me, and payed for it too, so I now owe a slight hangover to them.
There was this young black dog, according to his nametag he's called Sid, who apparently belonged to the barmaid. He kept jogging through the pub all happy and tail-wagging, and visited our table every once in a while, and even more so after T. broke down and fed him a de-salted cracker. I'm a cat person, really, but Sid won my heart with his soulful eyes. He's quite the clever dog, because as soon as he realized that here were people who might feed him, he hung around our table, putting his head on our knees, gave paw, and even stood up on his hind legs, expecting treats for tricks. A true performer who knows how to woo his audience. Maybe we should learn from him.
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
I've always suspected that our band's long-time guitarist P. is a bit of a drama queen, but last night it was confirmed.

cut for length )

Interesting times.
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
Gig - fair. Even when we're bad, we're good. We gave everything, but today everything was 50% of the usual.
Audience - small but enthusiastic. Too many other bands playing tonight. But those who were there looked like they were enjoying themselves. Especially the dancers.
On-stage sound - terrible. Could I hear anything? Bollocks!
Voice - gone. It cracked when I tried to talk over a guitar playing. What I wanted to say was that it was too loud. Figures. Back to croaking.
Proprietor - pleasantly surprised. I think he was all set not to like us; he's more a Country and Heavy Metal kind of guy. But in the end, he seemed ready to book us again, and the barmaid even suggested having a folk session night. Suits me fine!
Me - tired. Sleep now.
tysolna: (no thanks)
I got myself some anti-cough-meds (we're playing in a pub; smokling here is still allowed; I don't want to start coughing in the middle of a solo), and, conscientious user that I am, I read the package insert.
These meds stop me from coughing. They can also make me slighly tired, nervous, and sick to the stomach, which is wonderful for a gig, and I might become addicted to them.
(Oh, but they have honey in them so they must be good!)
I wonder if the adverse effects don't outweigh the usefulness. I think I'll continue to suck on the Isla Moos lozenges for now.
tysolna: (tube train)
So I'm sat in the "new office" of ours, the ex-copy room, and let me tell you, it stinks of toner and copier and yuck. I wish I could open the window, but there are roadworks outside and with the window open, the stench of tar permeates the room, which is even worse.

There's a lot of running around to be done in the afternoon, the most important of which is going to be convincing the bank not to cancel my overdraft credit. Bloody bastards.

The classes I hold at the adult education centre will probably not take place, there are too few registrations. Which means that I won't continue to work there.

Band rehearsal is switched from Tuesday to Friday, which means that I'll be able to pander to my House / Monk addiction on Tuesdays.

Yesterday, while reading and mentally dissecting a lecture on Australian literature, my mind started regurgitating a lot of thoughts and ideas, which I promptly wrote down. Good stuff there, too. Now, if only I found the knack again to put these thoughts into a coherent whole.

No word yet from Cardiff. Will continue looking.
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
I don't know, I can feel like death warmed over the whole day, both physically and psychically, and all I want is to sleep, but as soon as I'm on stage with the band and we start playing, I'm doing great, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be. Nothing compares to that.
Before we played, the pub was empty. At the end of the first set, it was standing room only, and then very close quarters. Not too bad, all things considered.
Our bass player and the new singer are such a cute couple, like limpets, especially when the cool guy has had six beers. Awww.... *grins*
I asked someone out and got turned down, but hey, at least I asked.
Next gig: November 3rd. It's like a tour, almost! And who knows, it looked as if some people were interested in us playing other gigs. Fingers crossed!
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
Last night's gig in a few short words. Fantastic. Fun. Loud. VERY loud. Fun. Lively. Wild. Did I mention Fun yet?

In a few more words. Unlike our new female singer N., I wasn't really all that nervous this time around. We had a very relaxed atmosphere on stage, joking around, laughing. I can't say that we made many mistakes other than a few wrong notes. It was rather hot and my sweaty fingers slipped during a solo, but other than that I think I played ok. Oh yes, and I managed to step on my microphone cable twice; the plug got unplugged and I only noticed when I started playing (pick up, plug in, continue).
And hell, did we entertain our audience. When I am not playing and N. doesn't sing, we joke and dance around on stage (as much as stage width allows). Singers N. and G. went offstage during the instrumentals and danced among the audience, who clapped along with the music and applauded a lot. On the whole a very successful gig.
Even more so when we got resounding compliments from the bar staff and the owner. Mind you, the owner of the pub seemed to be his own best customer, but he is a great friendly guy and very charming. He said that he'd booked us with no real idea what our music would be like, and was very surprised at the enthusiastic crowd we'd managed to pull.
He's immediately booked us for another gig in about half a year's time, and we very probably have another gig set up already.
As our drummer said afterwards, I can't go to the UK; I'm needed. :-D
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
Just got back from a great performance of "Jenufa" at the local opera house; the role of the Kostelnička Buryjovka was sung by noted soprano Anja Silja (good grief, she's got her own Wikipedia entry!). Unlike the usual members of the cast, she sang the role in the original Czech.
She is a marvellous singer, but my mom and I both agreed that her Czech left something to be desired. But on the other hand, we also agreed that you don't really understand what's being sung in Opera anyway, and hers was a fantastic voice and performance. In fact, it seemed as if everyone on stange and in the pit gave their absolute best, and even though I was terribly tired to begin with, it was a night I wouldn't have wanted to miss.

So why was I so terribly tired? Well, since our singer's work schedule didn't allow him to be at the, uh, dress rehearsal, for want of a better word, which was supposed to take place on Tuesday, we decided to have that reherasal today, on a Sunday, at ten o'clock in the morning. And me after a night out, three beers, and my first taste of juniper schnaps. That would be Gin, but it tasted differently... Anyway. Hungover, I was still able to worm my way through the sets. I am looking forward to the gig on Friday, and hope we will have a good-sized audience.
The article in today's newspaper certainly won't help, because even though we're there with a picture and good enough text, the date of our gig is apparently Friday, the 19th of September, not the 29th. But at least they spelled the name of our band correctly this time.
tysolna: (doctor don't look back)
Last night was the much-awaited premiere of Puccini's Turandot at the local opera house.
The music was fantastic; the orchestra, the choir, the soloists were all very, very good. Nessun Dorma got a thunderous applause, and there were standing ovations and lots of curtain calls, and rightfully so I think.
The staging, however, is nothing to write home about. For an opera which is so much about love and blood, it was rather colourless. At least it didn't distract from the music. And the music was grand.

Also yesterday was the annual local language library book sale. Since I had this deal with the librarian (I donated many books to the library, and in turn I would get a hefty discount here), I managed to grab 50 books for 50 cent each. All of the Darkover books are now mine, as well as all science fiction books they had, Nimoy's "I am Spock", a book on Tolkien, Laurence Olivier's biography, a dictionary of myths and symbols, and a couple of large-size illustrated books on painters, on gargoyles, and the universe. And more. Cookbooks, too. And I wish I would have gotten even more, but I restricted myself.

The latter half of last week was so busy that I neglected a couple of things, which I will try and catch up on today and tomorrow. Although I don't know how much I can get done today, given that in four hours I'll be picked up for band rehearsal.
I wonder if we will get to play the new instrumentals we rehearsed at an extra meeting last friday. It was such fun to simply get together and play!
If and when I leave for coasts yet unknown, there will be many things here that I will miss. Friday, I realized that one of the things that will hurt most leaving will be the band.
tysolna: (woman with violin)
Our band's drummer is starting to become our band's manager as well. Which is good, he's getting us gigs left right and centre. To whit:
We're playing on the 29th of September, on the 12th of October, on the 5th of November, and on the 6th of January next year. There may even be a Christmas gig somewhere, but that's not definite.
Too bad one of these dates is clashing with travel plans; I was planning to go to London in October.
But - a gig a month! Whee!

I'm getting dizzy.
tysolna: (wtf?)
This has to be one of the worst evenings I've had in quite a while, and certainly one of the worst evenings while making music. The band was so not in the mood, no-one barely said anything, no-one commented on the new song we're trying out, it's like this great chasm has opened up in the rehearsal room and all the fun and all the communication has dropped into it.
One guitarist has played his "If I'm not good enough I'd better leave"-card again; I told him plainly that if he keeps bluffing on that hand, he should be aware that someday, someone will call his bluff. Someone else said that he has to keep forcing himself to go to rehearsals each Tuesday. The drummer is working his behind off for the band, getting gigs for us, and this is what happens, so it's no wonder he's frustrated. If this continues to happen, if things don't get better soon, it may be that this band will cease to exist by the end of the year.

And then I come home and find that I've been made a fool of. I just have to remind myself that I am not responsible for the behaviour of others.
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
The band's moving. Our current rehearsal room is in an old factory building which houses about ten or so other rooms such as ours, with one to three bands in each room. The owner of the building is bankrupt and has to sell the building. The big firm next door will probably lap it up; after all, they just bought a piece of street.
So, since he's bankrupt, all the bands have been evicted. We all thought it would be at the end of this year; now it's been brought forward to September. Since the punk band that's sharing the room with us moves at the end of this month, so do we.
I won't miss the room, not really. The surrounding Goth Metal and Punk bands are rather loud - there's this Goth Rock band next door, they are stoned sometimes and then play one note over and over again at the top of their instruments' volume. The room itself is plastered with old carpets and hung with many cobwebs, and it smells of stale beer, old tobacco and pot smoke, and mildew. Even my violin has caught the smell after all the years I played it there, poor thing. The toilets have been vandalized by the Punks, or perhaps by the drunken Russians who use their room as a place to party and repair their cars.
Still, it was the room that saw a lot of changes in our band lineup - two bass players, three guitarists - and even more of a change in our sound.
We're very lucky that a friend of ours has a rehearsal room / recording room in his cellar, and we can stay there until we've found something else.
tysolna: (innocent girl)
Yep, I stole the title from [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes.

I'm eating chocolate, drinking tea, and completely reconstructing our band's webpage. It needs to be done; it is old, and there are so many things I would have to move around that it's easier to rebuild.

An hourglass is a waist of time.

Yep, I stole that from a forum I frequent. At least I made that up from a typo someone made, so maybe stealing is not the appropriate term.

Yesterday, I visited a semi-medieval fair in my home city, which is connected to the 26th international Hansa Convention, celebrating 650 years of Hanseatic League. There were a lot of things to see, but I as usual gravitated to the medieval fair, with its music and smells and the semi-medieval "fair speak". There, by chance, I met a friend I hadn't seen for probably five years, and we shared some mead and stories. It was good to see him again and to know he's doing well.

It's getting warm here again, and someone is starting to fire up the barbecue in a garden close to ours. I don't mind the food smells, but the stuff they use to start the fire stinks.
And I've got melted chocolate on my white t-shirt.
tysolna: (hiding behind violin)
This is a relatively useless post made mainly because I want to show off my new userpic which was taken at the gig on Thursday. The gig was fine; we play well together and have a good routine. Tomorrow, we'll be playing at our guitarists's birthday, which means I'll have to get up rather early for Sunday (seven thirty at the latest).
You know, I could become quite the gardener, after all. Today, I mowed the lawn and the lawn lost. I also planted about twelve yellow, orange and red snapdragons and a lot of little lobelias, after hacking through weeds and dry stuff. I sure hope that there's nothing more to planting things than digging a hole, putting them into it roots first, cover them with earth and water them - because if there is more, I don't know it.
The rest of the time was spent in front of the TV, and sorry Swedish people on my list, but I am rather happy for Trinidad and Tobago.
tysolna: (nuns with guns)
I just need to post something because, arbitrary as it might be, I love today's date.

I feel so evil! Over lunchtime, I destroyed complete ecosystems, relocated those who lived there, and swept the remainder into the dustbin, all in the span of two hours. Me vs. Weeds In Front of our House United: 1:0.
However, there's either two small or one huge ant's nest under the steps in front of our house. Not good. Beside the fact that they are undermining our entrance, I now feel as if I have ants in my pants.

Next, shower, shopping, library, home in time for tea, and then band rehearsals for the gig on Thursday which will hopefully take place - it's an open air thing, and if rain comes, the gig will not.
tysolna: (woman with violin)
Learning something is like rowing upstream - as soon as you stop doing it, you drift back. And I have drifted back musically, and the pieces I was able to play fifteen years ago are currently beyond my ability.
So I got my old violin etude books out of the cellar, the Sevciks and Dofleins and Tartinis. It's been some time since I felt the need to get back to those, to improve my playing, because what I could play seemed enough in the context of the band. It probably still is, but that doesn't mean I can't practice a lot more so I get better.
This realization is almost thirty years too late. When I started playing, I was too lazy to practice, and mum had to bribe me with Wonder Woman comic books.
I can't time travel to kick my younger self into gear, but I can do something so that my older self won't want to time travel to kick my present self.
tysolna: (springseil)
A few things are happening in the world of our little Folk Rock band. Little in this case is 166cm, and goes by the name of Neringa. She's our new second singer. Great voice, great fun, good understanding of music. I don't know her age, but I'd guess she's in her early 20s, which makes her the youngest in the band.

All of a sudden, things are moving fast. Last week and tonight, we've locked down three new songs and rearranged one other for Neringa's voice. She will be singing "What shall a young lassie" from now on, which is good because it's really a woman's song. New songs are "Three Lions" - yes, the Lightning Seeds song, yes, with the English lyrics. Then, a version of "I know my love", presumably done similar to a Corrs version which I don't know, but it's got a rhythm like a steel drum should be playing it. And we've finally found a way to play "Whiskey in the Jar" in a way which owes nothing to Thin Lizzy or any other prior version - the way we play it, I can only describe it as Hip Hop Folk. Yo!
I'm absolutely sure there was a fourth new song, but it's vanished from my memory. I hope it will return in time for Friday, which is when we'll have vocal rehearsal. Unless the singer has to work.

I don't think the guitarist really understood what I was asking him after the rehearsal. One thing I noticed, though - we play the intro to "Young Lassie" together, and as soon as our eyes meet, he makes mistakes. Do I make him nervous? Hmmm... ;)
(On the other hand, maybe I shouldn't be talking because the same situation makes me blush. Dang but I think I do have a crush after all.)

Albatross!

May. 4th, 2006 10:41 am
tysolna: (stack of books)
How strange is that... I'm at work again, that is, the work I had to do today is done and the tape is whirring away digitizing Coleridge, and I've used the net access not only to do some research, but also get a handful of free Tarot readings because it's spring and I felt like it.
And in three out of four readings, on different pages, the same card turns up in the "self"-position: the Nine of Swords. Coincidence?

It's brilliant sunshine out there today, and warm, and my brain feels like a dried-out sponge waiting for information it can soak up. The thought of books and libraries and my bookshelves at home makes me giddy. All that knowledge on the ledges! Read, read, read!

Oh, yeah, lest I forget: The gig on the 30th was very much OK. We played until we dropped, almost literally, because they didn't want to let us go - we started at nine, playing a set on the hour until two in the morning. Six sets. And we only have 25 songs, which means that the more party-oriented rocking ones were played three times at least. I agree with our bass player that it will be some time until I want to play those songs again, as much fun to play as they are.
I hope the recordings that were made last week on Thursday and Sunday are of good quality, because I promised a few people I'd send them copies. Fingers crossed!

Here's another coincidence for you: Today's featured article on Wikipedia is about the Albatross; the Coleridge playing at the moment is Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Ah, I love humans, always seeing patterns in things that aren't there.

PS: Would I be completely off my rocker to want to hear Coleridge read by Tom Baker or Brian Blessed?
tysolna: (Ugly Alien)
It's cold, it's overcast, and I have absolutely no desire to get ready to go to what will be hours of sound check before the gig tonight. In fact, I have absolutely no desire to play a gig tonight, especially knowing that we will all be at the end of our stamina after the third or fourth set, with one or two more to go, that our voices will be shot to hell, and that, since I will be driving, I won't even be able to drink. OK, so drinking is never a good idea when you need the fine motor control for playing the violin, granted, but still, it's the thought that counts.
I wonder if any of our fans that didn't show up on Thursday will be there tonight. One will probably be late because hey, it's a party, so we're going to need hours to get ready. I'll admit the end result is worth seeing, though.
Like Thursday, I don't really have pre-gig nerves; the butterflies in the stomach seem more like the ghosts of love, if you know what I mean - the nervous excitedness of fresh love, only with there being no "target", so I guess it's bloody hormones again. Unless it's a "something's coming"-feeling á la "West Side Story".

Thanks to ... someone ... I was able to watch "Tooth & Claw" yesterday, while the rest of the Who-world was watching Sarah Jane and K9. I'm looking forward to seeing "School Reunion", and wondering if my theory about the thematic structure of Season 2 vs Season 1 is correct.

And finally, thanks Red for the Orbital CD. Fantastic!
tysolna: (highland fling)
Not being nervous, or at the very least a lot less nervous than usual, before a gig makes for a lot more fun on stage. And my word, did we have fun!

Which doesn't mean that we were perfect. Funnily enough, those things that usually go perfectly didn't, while those that usually don't, did. It all started to take on a slightly surreal edge when, a few bars into the first song, our drummer first loses his drumstick and then, while reaching for the second one, loses that, too. Breaks were sometimes broken in slightly unusual places, our singer made one huge cock-up when he didn't wait for the guitarist to supply the right key, which made for an interesting game of "hunt the note", I dropped a few notes and blurred and smeared a few others, quite apart from playing "Toss the Feathers" rather hurriedly, and you should have seen the bass-player's face when he missed the second-to-last note he had to play in the entire gig. I think I got my revenge for last gig right there.

On the other hand, "Donald McGillavrey" was absolutely perfect, as were "Haughts of Cromdale", "Loch Lomond", "Bonnie Ship the TARDIS" and "What shall a young Lassie", among others; the Instrumentals just flowed from the violin, even the one in "Foggy Dew", the sound was marvellous, the audience sang along with us and jigged to the music, and we got compliments all around.

We had fun! As someone who's seen us a couple of times noted, by now we feel like a band that's been rehearsing a long time, can steer clear of known eddies, and compensate for any of our members when they mess up. And while we may not be perfect, we seem to rock people's socks off and provide some amusement: The pub was full, with a lot more unknown faces that old fans, and they stayed until we played the last note.

The only real mistake I made last night was drinking that litre and a half of water before going to bed at two o'clock. I didn't get nearly enough sleep after that.

I just hope we have enough stamina left to play five half-hour sets on Sunday.

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